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    Aveda Arts Turns Backstage into a Classroom with Traci Sakosits

    Aveda Arts & Sciences Institutes students recently had a chance to participate in an editorial photoshoot with Traci Sakosits, Vice President of Education and Creative Direction at Aveda Arts, and award-winning photographer Wes Kroninger. 

    The shoot served as a love letter to cosmetology education as it showcased the phenomenal work and capability of students at all levels when they are taught the proper foundations of hair cutting, styling and coloring. 

    “At Aveda Arts we believe in elevating the beauty industry one student at a time,” Sakosits said, “and by conducting a photo shoot as a learning opportunity for top students, we are transforming BTS into a classroom where students and educators can learn outside of the formal classroom setting.” 

    Fully involved from the beginning, the students learned the basics of editorial cut, color and styling via micro demonstrations, hands-on application, and being submerged in each part of the process. The students not only assisted but were able to see firsthand how hair can be manipulated to achieve different looks for the camera. 


    The students also received valuable insight from Kroninger, who spoke to them about the perspective of the photographer, including the lighting and capturing a model’s best angle. 


    “It was such an amazing experience for me to both model and help with preparing the other models’ hair,” said participating student Marieta Martinez. “I learned a lot about the more creative side of the industry and also received great advice from so many different individuals that were on our team to take with me as I enter the industry as a stylist.” 


    Q&A with Traci Sakosits 

    Q: What was the goal in terms of the students’ learning? 

    “Our aim was to provide a classroom-like experience in a different environment. We wanted to give Aveda Arts students the chance to participate in the preparation for a show, working the actual show, and doing a photo shoot, all of which are unique experiences that students can have within their cosmetology program. Our goal was to create an opportunity for students to gain exposure to different areas of the beauty industry beyond the confines of the salon and school life. Such experiences are invaluable to a beauty industry career path.” 

    Q: How was the styling work divided up so each student could get some hands in hair? 

    “The production of the shoot was divided into five areas: cut, color, styling, makeup, and wardrobe. Each of the students was assigned to one of these areas and each area had a team lead. The students shadowed and learned throughout all phases of the process and got their hands in it as well. The team used the same teaching techniques used in the Aveda Arts institutes, including live micro demonstrations, hands-on step-by-step guidance, and coaching. The team responsible for producing the show and this shoot are not only experts in their fields but are equally talented passionate educators always willing to share their knowledge.” 

    Q: In an age of social media and AI, what do you think excites students about a photo shoot?  

    “Having real-life experience is always exciting for the students. It’s creative and emotive. Connecting to people and the reality of a moment is very important. There are so many parts to the process and each person involved within a collaboration is creative in their own right. When collaborating for a purpose, that energy cannot be matched and only if you have that experience #IRL can you truly understand. 

    One of the education goals at Aveda Arts is to give students more of these types of opportunities. This will help to elevate their experience and expose them to all of the other opportunities this industry has to offer.  Hence our mantra … ‘Elevating the industry one student at a time!'” 


    Photographer: Wes Kroninger 

    Team Lead: Traci Sakosits VP of education Aveda Arts  

    Makeup: Elizabeth Hoh, Aveda Arts Minn 

    Wardrobe: Padina Bondar 

    Cut and Color Coaches: Tukia Allen, Aveda Arts Atlanta and Katie McClusky, Aveda Arts NYC 

    Educators Aveda Arts Minneapolis: Mo Murphy, Lori Hopper  

    Educator Aveda Arts NYC: Cheryl Sakosits 

    Students: Megan Oleen, Clarissa Maas, Marieta Martinez 


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